Introducing Our Next “Big” Project!

Our New Project

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“You should never buy someone else’s unfinished project”. I’ve said those words a thousand times, but I just broke my own rule. We have hinted at the fact that we were getting a new project. You knew it was going to be a big one too because we had to buy a truck to haul it all! The wait is now over though and I’d like to introduce you all to the newest member of the Barn Finds fleet…

Its An MGA

Can you tell what it is yet? Or was… That pile of parts was once a beautiful MGA coupe! Our good buddy Bruce knew that I liked MGs so he introduced us to a friend named Lynn. Lynn had a nicely restored Morgan in his garage, but he also had this MGA tucked away in another sealed off corner. He had picked up the car sometime in the seventies and had started to prep things for a restoration, but life got busy and the project got put on hold. There was even a calendar still on the wall from 1976!

In The Rafters

Lucky for us, Lynn is a very organized guy. He carefully labeled everything and never threw anything away. He even had a bunch of spares squirreled away in the rafters! After pulling everything out of there he said it was time to head down to the crawlspace. I chuckled and thought he was just joking, but sure enough, he had fenders and tires stashed underneath the house. So, not only did we get one MGA, but we got a whole truckload of extra parts! He wasn’t even sure where he had gotten some of them, but we weren’t going to complain. So, if you need anything for your MGA project, please let us know!

In The Fridge

Even the engine internals were carefully packed away in an old fridge to keep dust and moisture away. Much of the machine work has already been completed and many new parts were included in the sale. We boxed everything up and started moving it all to our own garage. Our long bed Dodge could haul quite a bit at a time, but it still took a couple of trips. After that was done, we set the body back onto the frame and called a tow truck (it was cheaper and easier than renting a trailer).

Seeing The Light Of Day

Here’s our MGA seeing the light of day for the first time in almost 40 years! As you can probably tell, the bodywork has been started. Lynn had a friend who was very experienced do most of the work and there’s not a speck of rust on the thing. We will need to finish it up and respray it before attempting to piece everything together. This is going to be like trying to assemble a Lego set that has been dumped into a box of other Legos. Luckily, we do have a  book of instructions and many of the small bits are in labeled baggies. Notice the plastic tarps the divided this section of his garage from the rest. It really was a time capsule in there!

Loading Up

Lynn and his wife said their farewells. I’m sure it was hard to say goodbye, but they were both excited to free up the space for their new woodworking hobby. They were also happy to know that the car was going to get some much needed attention. We have never taken on a project of this magnitude, but it will be fun to try. It may not look like it, but a lot of the hard work has already been done here. The frame, suspension, and brakes have already been cleaned up and refinished. Even the transmission has been rebuilt! We will have to freshen some things up and finish the rest, but we are confident that we can handle the job.

In Our Garage

And here it is safe and sound back at our place! We stuck the front fenders in place so you can visualize how good this car will look one day. It was originally Old English White, but a previous owner painted it red at some point. We will probably go back to white, but that’s just one of the many decisions that will need to be made in the coming months. This is going to be a fun adventure and we are excited to share it with all of you!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Kevin Harper

    Looks like a fun project. I guess I am a masochist as I have never been afraid of taking over other peoples projects. A couple of rules that I try to abid by, one I am not paying you for your labour to take it apart, two something expensive and hard to find is going to be missing, three price accordingly and be prepared to walk away.

    BIF motors

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  2. wagon master

    It’s just too much of a temptation Jesse. We believe the hard part is done for us.

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    • A.J.

      The “Hard Part” is finishing.

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  3. Walt

    Aloha Jesse, It looks like you scored on this one ! Especially with all the care
    shown with all of the spares and having the engine machine work done.
    Wishing you well on this worthy project . I’ll be looking for it on the
    street or at The Boise Sonic drive in . Malama Pono.

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  4. HoosMember

    You should have a blast doing this car. I’ve got a roadster, and although I didn’t do the restoration, I did get pictures. I’ve also been watching a fellow enthusiast do a ground up restoration of a coupe on the MG Experience. Take a look if you’re interested.,2085517

    Here is mine.

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    • jim s

      from the dates on the posts it looks like almost 4 years on that project.

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    • Puhnto

      Is that a real MGA color? Not that it really matters, it’s gorgeous. (We had one for a while that was a little bluer. More tourquoisy. But I love yours.)

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      • Mike Dianna


        If you are asking about the color of the MGA roadster-it is Tyrolite green and yes it is a factory color for MGAs but, only used back in 1956 and 1957. Not too popular back then, but because it is rarely seen, much more popular today. My favorite color for an MGA.

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      • HoosMember

        Yes, it is an original color. It is called tyrolite, a one year only color. Before I bought this car, I was looking for a black car with a red interior. When I saw this car, it got me. It took a little while to make a deal, and I couldn’t be happier.

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  5. jim s

    great find. since the owner cared about the car you may find out that this unfinished project is not that bad. i love the looks of the mgs coupe. i would wait as long as you can before installing the glass because it gets hot in a hurry working inside these. with the windows out you can get airflow in and out. it is also easier to get lights set up so you can see what your doing. this is going to be fun.

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  6. YellowjaxMember

    I love the coupe I had back in the 70’s. Took it down to bare metal with some friends on a sunny Seattle day. Went inside to have a few beers and play poker….. Rained that night. MG left outside. I did finally finish it. Then sold it for $700 after I got my AH 3000. Someday I’ll get another. Good luck with yours. Don’t leave it out at night.

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  7. Anthony

    Beautiful find – I just bought a 1960 MAJOR project and would need parts. Please email me, maybe we can discuss our projects…Nice find.

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  8. Murray

    Here’s one we prepared earlier……. Much earlier actually. Restored this car for my ex wife in 1989/90. A 1958 MGA 1600. Although we had the original motor we opted for a “warm” 1800cc MGB Mk1 motor instead. This was a fabulously forgiving car which could be driven flat out all day, or it would be equally at home in the daily commute, which is what she did for a number of years…….

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    • Jesse Mortensen JesseAuthor

      Wow, what a beautiful car Murray. Hopefully we can get ours looking that good someday. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Murray

    Hi Jesse, A pleasure….. All the work was done by self and Father in Law. We did all the body prep in the garage but sent it to a paint shop for the top coats. The only other job we sent out was the gearbox. Time was going tight and it was the last component to finish so it was also sent to the local MG shop. As it turned out it was in top condition anyway….. They’re a great car but they are very warm in the cockpit in the summer. Mind you way better than the Twin Cam, they’re a real sauna!

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  10. DRV

    These are my favorite MG by far and remind me of a 120 or 140 coupe and easier to keep.
    The white is the best too. Very British.
    Congrats and have fun Jesse!

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  11. Carl W French

    I had one for a while in project form that was next on my slot. I can’t remember the color name but it was originally an amazing mint green with black seats with matching green piping. My wife and I both were in love with it from day one. It is sculpture on wheels like an XK120. My wife’s company got bought out then though. We no longer had the funds to do it correct so passed to another who will have it done some day. It will be fun watching this project

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  12. John.H

    Jesse, that white is elegant and dashing. My vote is to paint it again in the original color.

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  13. Murray

    John.H its the original Old English White. MG factory colour, must have red seats and grey carpets. All coupes left the factory with grey carpet….

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  14. John

    Keep an eye out for a twin-cam motor. I haven’t seen one in years, but they were interesting back in the day. I always loved the door handles on these little coupes. Automotive jewelry. Keep us posted, this looks neat.

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  15. Bruce

    I don’t remember, did Lynn have wire wheels for this? If not, are you going to go with WW? Personally I like them on certain cars, this being one of them. Best of luck on your new endeavor, as I come across parts in my stash I will let you know what I find.


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  16. Pete

    Phew weee for a minute there I thought you guys picked up a rusted out 356 Porsche. I think ya did alright depending on what ya paid for it with a lot of the prep work being done already it should not take that long to get it back together. You can probably make friends with someone locally who can drive their MGA over there to use as a cheat sheet in the even ya get stuck. I would go with the white, stick to original is my moto. I think ya’ll will have lots of fun. That wiring though is gonna be a pain if ya go back with a lucas harness. That might be the only upgrade I would give it since it is already disassembled. I imagine the previous owner has labeled the original harness really well so it wouldn’t be hard to figure all that out. Can’t wait for the next update on this project.

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  17. Doug M. (West Coast)Member

    Great Find! Solid start, so this will be really nice when done. I found a 59 Coupe in a barn about 6 years ago and bought it, got it driving, and had some good times with it. Did the tune up carefully, and it fired up and idled on the first crank after years of sitting. I love the vintage look of the dash on these, and the interiors give great opportunity for showing off vintage style.

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  18. Doug M. (West Coast)Member

    Here’s the outside, same color as yours.

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  19. Doug M. (West Coast)Member

    Sorry about the three posts, but I really love the style of these cars. My final posts will be of a really nice one that sold online a few years ago. It was so nicely done that I save the pics for inspiration in case I ever get another one. Check out the awesome interior! I can almost smell the leather… Or is that old leaky British motor oil? :)

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  20. Doug M. (West Coast)Member

    So, Jesse, here is my final post from the “inspirational archives” on my computer: The interior above came in this nicely done Old English White Coupe… doesn’t get much better than this?!!

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    • Jesse Mortensen JesseAuthor

      Thanks for inspiration Doug. I love both of the cars posted. Looks like ours originally had the black interior like yours, but the red sure looks good!

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  21. JeffStaff

    You can tell a lot about an owner based on the cleanliness and order of their garage. Wow, that man is the kind of guy you want to buy a project car from. I think I want a fully defrosted fridge as my next storage cabinet, too!

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    • Jesse Mortensen JesseAuthor

      Yep, Lynn is very organized and clean. I’m still a little nervous about this project, but I couldn’t ask for a better previous owner.

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  22. Julles

    Two comments. First, Van I am sorry I called you a pack rat. Second, dude, a coupe? really? Half the fun of a British car is it being a convertible and MGA’s are gorgeous convertibles. The coupe is a sorry second in my mind. I would rather I’d seen you get the TR3A. Sorry to be a wet blanket but this car is most likely going to be a weekend driver and on those nice weekend days driving in the mountains you are going to wish it was a convertible.

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  23. Doug Towsley

    Looks like there was quality work done, and I agree,,,,,, I would be comfortable buying a project from someone like that.
    HOWEVER,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, DO NOT paint anything until you do a mock up. Sorry, but I cannot count how many people get excited and paint stuff only to find out you have to rework stuff.
    You dont know what went where, and what was still to be done and I doubt the original guys who did the work remember all the details. Spend a couple days mocking the parts up and make sure things fit. Final assy is the fun part **IF** all the prepwork and fitting has already been done. If not, its a nightmare.

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  24. Doug Towsley

    I meant to add one other detail. White cars are a pain. I have painted a few and in some ways they can hide body issues better but a serious PIA to paint them. When spraying in the booth, ANY dirt, bugs, dog hair or anything can and will show up and if you miss them and get buried in the clear coat good luck with that.

    (I had Dobermans and Great Danes for years. Those little black hairs get everywhere)

    I sprayed a 1963 Thunderbird for a guy, that is a LOT of sheetmetal, Cream white with a hint of pearl, Sweet looking car when done but nothing is more distressing than when after painting clear coats to look up and see a mosquito, Gnat, or other flying bug sneak into the spray booth and flying around above the car as the clear coat is curing. Personally, I am not a big fan of white cars anyway unless a 2 tone.
    But lastly, If a keeper, then paint what you really enjoy. Screw the purists. Its you who will live with it. HOWEVER if you are going to sell it, Then Red is a better choice. I paint a lot , and we call it “Resale red” Just sayin’

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  25. MG'zer

    my son and I restored a 59 coup. It took us a few years. But we did it. I was able to show him how to rebuild the engine, body work, welding and painting.

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  26. Alan Brase

    I guess each car has its place. The open car for nice weather, the closed for the rest of the time. Nowadays we worry more about too much sun exposure, so I guess that gives the coupe even more good days a year.
    WRT restoration, I AGREE! doing a test assembly is a must. You don’t have an assembly line, nor all identical parts like they did in 1950’s. I’m a great fan of bolting the fenders on loosely and painting most parts the same time. (jamb it first, of course).
    I am NOT a fan of 2 stage paint. Why would anyone use it for a restoration?
    Old baked synthetic enamel was the best lasting auto paint ever. Not possible to do without a real baking booth. (not like they have today- old ones got over 200 degrees.) But single stage catalyzed acrylic enamel will be the next best thing and looks right. And it’s repairable.

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